Parents’ Guide to 11+ Stress

Parents of a child taking the 11+ exam into independent senior schools often find the process quite stressful. Here are some tips that can help you and your child conquer your 11+ journey with as little worry as possible.

Seek Information

It is critical that you know exactly how the admissions processes for your preferred schools work. Make sure you keep informed about your preferred schools by:

  • Finding out what the Admission Requirements are to check your chances of securing a place. Search the 11+ information sections of the schools’ websites to help you and check near the application date if there have been any updates or further information.
  • Reading the latest inspection reports, reviews or blogs and talk to your child’s school and local families in the community.
  • Finding out about the testing process so you know what the assessments consist of and when they take place. Look out for changes to the tests as the content varies considerably from year to year and school to school.

 Manage Your Stress

Due to the pressure on places and the need to prepare thoroughly, most children taking the 11+ will feel anxious or stressed at some point during the process. In addition, the car park chatter can impact adversely on children who overhear parental aspirations or expectations.

  • Reassure your child about their future and discuss a ‘Plan B’ that might take place regardless of the outcome of the 11+ exam. Your child needs to know that you are in control of the situation and that you have their future securely mapped out.
  • Reassure them you will be proud of them no matter what happens, that you know how much hard work they have put into the preparation for their courage in taking it. A positive result, should they pass the entrance exam, is a bonus.


Braeside offers a small, personalised education for girls in Buckhurst Hill, and Normanhurst educates boys and girls in North Chingford. The two schools take children from 2½ to 16, and between them they make up half of the privately-owned Oak-Tree Group. Here are some key points about sitting the 11+ at these outstanding local schools:

  • Candidates should have reached the age of 11 before 1 September 2020.
  • Parents are required to complete a school registration form and an 11+ registration form, and submit them with a registration fee of £50. These forms are downloadable from the websites.
  • Selection procedures include a tour of the school for the family, interview for the parents with the Headmistress to explore the support available at home and any relevant connection with the School and an interview for the pupil to explore their interests, attitude to school, personal qualities and possible contribution to the school community.
  • 11+ examinations take place on Tuesday 21 January at 9.30am and include papers in Mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
  • Girls who sit the 11+ or 13+ examinations can be considered for a place at both Braeside and Normanhurst by indicating their preference when completing the 11+ or 13+ form.
  • Several part-scholarships are awarded annually at both schools as a result of the examination and interview process. These are awarded for Art, Drama, Music and Sport as well as for academic achievement.

To register to sit the 11+ examination at either Braeside or Normanhurst School, please visit the school websites and contact the relevant Admissions Registrar.

Braeside School, Buckhurst Hill
Normanhurst School, North Chingford